New Nanochromis found in Congo


Scientists have described a new species of Nanochromis from the Congo basin.

Anton Lamboj of the University of Vienna and Robert Schelly of the American Museum of Natural History have named the cichlid Nanochromis teugelsi.

The species has just been described in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

The fish was discovered at Kasai in the central Congo basin and from the main channel of the Congo, as far upstream as Lake Tumba.

Identification"It differs from N. dimidiatus, N. sabinae and N. squamiceps in lacking a supraneural bone and in lacking scales on the nape, cheek and chest," the authors wrote.

"It has a more elevated upper lateral line, contiguous to the dorsal-fin base from about the sixth pored scale on.

"In addition to distinguishing colouration characters, N. teugelsi is distinguished from N. minor, N. transvestitus, N. nudiceps, N. wickleri and N. splendens by its fully scaled opercle, from N. consortus by its shorter and shallower caudal peduncle, and from N. parilus by a lower number of gill rakers on the first arch."

The colour pattern of the fish resembles N. nudiceps, but both sexes have an orange-brown upper lip.

Most specimens also have one to three black dots in the posterior part of the dorsal fin.

Habitat and reproduction"The particular locality where the holotype was collected was a protected backwater connected to the main channel, with a sandy substrate and some aquatic vegetation, including submerged grasses and floating Eichornia."

Nanochromis teugelsi has been successfuly bred in captivity.

According to Lamboj, the fish is a monogamous pair-bonding cave-spawner, which is typical for the Nanochromis genus.

The female typically guards the eggs and fry on her own. Eggs hatch after three days, with fry reaching the free-swimming stage by 8-9 days.

Brood care lasts for around 5-7 weeks, during which time both parents defend the offspring from other fish.

The species has been named in honour of Guy Teugels, the former curator of fishes at the African Museum in Tervuren.

For more details see the paper: Lamboj A and R Schelly (2006) - Nanochromis teugelsi, a new cichlid species (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Kasai region and central Congo basin. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, Vol. 17, No. 3. pp. 247-254.